Northumberland gets clean bill of health in child sexual exploitation inspection

Inspectors have given Northumberland a clean bill of health in relation to child sexual exploitation.

Friday, 13th September 2019, 5:14 pm
Updated Friday, 13th September 2019, 6:54 pm
County Hall, Morpeth

Inspectors have given Northumberland a clean bill of health in relation to child sexual exploitation.

A joint targeted area inspection in relation to child sexual exploitation (CSE) and criminal exploitation took place in the county in June.

These inspections are multi-agency in focus and designed to test out the partnership working in relation to a particular theme or topic. They involve the likes of Ofsted, the Care Quality Commission and Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary.

Northumberland’s inspection, for which the report was published last month, found no priority areas for action within the county and no cases where children were found to be at immediate risk of harm.

A report to Thursday’s meeting of Northumberland County Council’s health and wellbeing board about the inspection – which executive director of children’s services, Cath McEvoy-Carr, described as an ‘extraordinarily intense process’ – explained that there were 21 areas of strength highlighted across the partnership as well as 14 areas for development.

The meeting heard that the inspectors were particularly pleased to see Operation Endeavour, through which all GPs and schools in the county routinely receive information about children who are missing.

The areas for improvement mainly related to criminal exploitation and not CSE, with Mrs McEvoy-Carr explaining that most were already recognised and raised by the partners in their self-assessment.

Regardless of the outcome, in all cases an action plan has to be submitted to Ofsted following such an inspection. This is currently in draft form, although many of the actions are in motion, and will be reported to the board in due course.

In related news, due to national changes, the Northumberland Safeguarding Children Board will cease to exist this month and will become a Northumberland Strategic Safeguarding Partnership (NSSP).

While retaining this local arrangement, this month also sees the launch of the Tyne, Wear and Northumberland Safeguarding Partnership, which involves Northumberland, North Tyneside, Newcastle, Gateshead, South Tyneside and Sunderland councils, the area’s five NHS clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) and Northumbria Police.